Sometimes You Need to Be a Bit Selfish in Soccer

To shoot or to pass: That is the question! - (Photo:

Perennial ball-hogs may take this post a bit too close to heart, but while unselfishness can help you make a lot of friends, sometimes a soccer player has to know when to take ahold of the ball and try to work some magic on their own.  Although a teammate may be frustrated by an ignored call for a pass, sometimes a soccer player is best to take on defenders by themselves or to take a brave shot from distance.  Making such selfish plays successful requires confidence and belief, and attempting such bold displays of skill can go a long distance to bettering one’s self as a player.

The important point here is that selfish acts of “going for it” in soccer need to be done within reason.  Is one of your teammates making a great run into the box to have a free shot on the goal?  Or is everyone just standing around waiting for someone to make a play?  If the second question is true, then I would suggest that you be the player to go out there and make a play.  If someone looks like they could score, make a play by passing them the ball and earning an assist.  Keep your head up and be aware of the game situation.

Taking a defender 1 on 1 is a great way to make something happen in a soccer game.  First off, this tests the defender.  As a playmaker, you want to judge how good your opposition is and the only way to learn about them is to take them head on.  Two things will happen.  You will either make a nifty more or utilize you incredible speed to blaze past them, or they will get a foot on the ball and dispossess you.

If you can easily beat the defender you will know that you can beat them later and that this is a weakness for the other team. If you run into a wall and they take the ball, you will learn that this may be a strength of their defense and perhaps it would be wiser to pass the ball elsewhere on the field.

But regardless of the outcome, in taking the player head on you will learn about both your skills and those of your opponent.  This can help improve your confidence in taking on defenders as well as assisting you in understanding your skills.  Who knows, perhaps you could have the supreme ball skills of Lionel Messi, but if you never attack right at your opponents, you would never know.

What’s great about solo efforts, especially in youth soccer, is that they help override difficulties of trying to orchestrate a successful passing move.  A team like Arsenal are true professionals during counter attacks and breakaways that string together 5 or 6 great passes that end in a final pass into the goal, but most U-10 players are satisfied just to connect on a pass and not send it 10 feet off-target.  Because of this, individual skill and attempts can often lead to the vital breakthrough and a successful goal.

However, even if you are the best player on your team and are completely annihilating the other team’s left back, do make sure to pass the ball around a bit too.  Ball-hogs are the worst teammates and you will eventually find that no one passes you the ball.  Therefore, be smart about taking your chances but know that such displays can be rewarding at the same time.



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